Flying Drum Platform
Magic Mike Live features several unique visual experiences and the production team came to Sin City Scenic to build many of them. One of the most striking products of this collaboration is the Flying Drum Platform. This was an extremely challenging design process that continued to evolve until the very last minute. This unit changed from a fully enclosed Plexiglas structure to the industrial caged look it has in the end and stopped at several intermediate places in between. For this project I facilitated all of the electrical needs as well took charge of the design and fabrication of the raceway needed for the platform.
We were involved in the very early stages of this unit to help guide the design to a final product that was actually achievable. All power was going to have to be contained within the platform so some form of battery was going to be needed to power both the audio equipment as well as the lighting. Because of this I chose to use a UPS battery backup system to provide 120VAC for all electrical needs (Happily most UPSs allow you to turn off the alarm these days). This was long before any actual equipment had been specified, so I had to look into what was available on the market for 120VAC LED lamp choices and knowing that there would be something like 150 of them I budgeted 500W of power dedicated to lighting. I was given some rough estimates on audio’s power needs and we ended up with a 1.5kW portable AC system that could maintain full load for about an hour.
A large concern at this point was cooling, 150 of any light source placed inside a sealed plastic box will create a reasonable amount of heat. With another 1000W of audio equipment airflow was going to be necessity. Enough fans to move adequate air would be both ugly to look at and eat significantly into the power capacity of the unit. Unfortunately at the early design stages we had to leave this as an issue that was identified but need to be solved later.
As we got closer to a finalized design an actual 3W lamp was selected and a grid of 155 lamps was laid out. This allowed me to select lamp bases and other necessary parts and pieces to put the whole thing together and to design the raceway needed to enclose all of the wiring. For a variety of reasons I chose to outsource the fabrication of the base raceway units, but I knew that much of the detail work involved in installing them would be done by the Sin City Scenic electrics team.
After we received the raw channel pieces from the fabricators we got to work laying out the lamp pattern, drilling the necessary holes, and installing all of the lamp bases and cable management. This became a fairly long and tedious process because the structure of the platform was built by another company with no knowledge of how the lighting would fit inside the unit. Luckily I have a great team, and we managed to get all of the lighting fixtures installed ahead of schedule. I think we all breathed a sigh of relief after the first lighting test went off without any issues. A few more custom brackets to mount the UPS, dimmer, and charging port and electrics was wrapped up.
We now turned the unit over to the metal fabrication team who had quite the job ahead of themselves creating the enclosure for the platform. The eventual solution to the unit being a sealed plastic box that would be difficult to cool was to make it a completely open mesh structure. Cooling was only one of many reasons this change was made, but it was convenient as it prevented the need for any fans as well as gave all of the lamps an amount of protection from damage without worry of melting plastic. Our fabricators were able to construct a cage that was both solid and fit the desired open aesthetic. The final product looks incredible and the customer was very happy with the result. We look forward to working with them on another interesting design sometime soon.